Pickleball is a paddle sport with simple, easy-to-learn rules for all ages and skill levels to enjoy! While it’s painless to introduce to beginners, it can still develop into a rapid moving, energetic game for more experienced players.
The United States of America Pickleball Association (USAPA) states the sport was invented in 1965 in Bainbridge Island, Washington. Three dads – Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell and Barney McCallum – are credited with creating pickleball. They wanted to entertain their children during summertime. We’ve all been there!
There are a couple answers to this question according to USAPA.org, and they both may be correct:
1. Joan Pritchard, Joel’s wife, claims she began calling the game pickleball because the combination of different sports reminded her of a pickle boat in crew where oarsmen are chosen from the leftovers of other boats.
2. Barney McCallum claims the game was named after the Pritchard’s’ dog Pickles, who would chase the ball and take off with it.
Pickleball is a melting pot using different components of tennis, badminton and ping-pong. Denise Paska, fitness instructor at Indigo by Neal Communities, likes to attribute playing pickleball to playing ping-pong on a surface rather than on a table!
The sport can be played both indoors and outdoors with a doubles badminton-size court and modified tennis net with doubles and singles operating on the same-size court. It’s built similarly to a tennis court with right and left service courts and a 7-foot zone right next to the net (also called the kitchen).
Pickleball is performed using a paddle smaller than a tennis racquet and bigger than a ping-pong paddle. The ball itself has holes through it, like a wiffle ball, with different balls for indoor and outdoor use.
The United States boasts over 15,000 indoor and outdoor courts, with at least one location in all 50 states, according to the USAPA. Although it can be competitive at times, many players seem to enjoy the social aspect of pickleball and the ability to stay active.
“We have about 30 or 40 players here,” said Neal Communities’ Grand Palm resident, Phil Tafone, referring to the bustling pickleball community. “We all became friends and we do social events together so it’s a great way to make new friends.”
Pickleball can help players work on balance, agility, reflexes and hand-eye coordination without the strain of a high-impact sport like tennis. It’s a great alternative for older players with physical limitations or people of all ages with trauma. The lightweight paddle and smaller court allows for a lower chance for additional injury.
“I love pickleball because it’s good exercise,” said Indigo resident, Diane Mathison. “It doesn’t really wear you out, and it’s not very straining if you play sensibly.”
Due to the increase in pickleball popularity, Neal Communities recently added four new courts to Boca Royale Golf and Country Club. The new amenity center that recently broke ground at Neal Communities’ Grand Palm will also include eight courts, which residents are especially excited about.